Grain-Free Pancakes

Three ingredients, a bowl, and a fork.

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That’s all it takes to mix up a batch of these scrumptious pancakes! Toss the batter on a griddle, and breakfast is ready before you know it! AND, bonus! They’re almost all protein, so there’s no gut bomb/carb crash an hour after breakfast. AND if your kids decide they want only pancakes, you’ll just pile them high and not be concerned they won’t get enough protein.

Just in time for the weekend, here’s the recipe I use for our Grain-Free Pancakes! (This amount will satisfy our family of five eaters, and can be multiplied or divided to meet your needs.)

Grain-Free Pancakes
3 ripe bananas, mashed
8 eggs
1 cup nut butter of your choice (today I used almond butter, though I often use organic peanut butter.)

Mash the bananas with a fork. Add eggs and stir thoroughly. Mix in the nut butter. You can use a whisk or a hand mixer if you prefer, though a fork generally works fine.

Spoon onto a hot griddle (350* F). Flip when bubbles form and the edges look slightly shiny and dry. Cook the second side for approximately one minute.

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Slather with butter and syrup or some fresh berry compote and enjoy your creation!

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Any leftovers can easily be refrigerated and reheated! I’ve even been known to make a bunch of these pancakes ahead of time and pass them out as car snacks on a road trip. ūüėČ

May your weekend be blessed!

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Birth Story: Anna’s Peaceful Birth

Today is Anna’s second birthday! In honor of our Little A turning two, I thought I¬†would share her birth story. I loved her birth-day. It was everything I could have asked for in a birth.¬†

Oh how I love birth! Whenever I say that, some people grimace, some people laugh, some people roll their eyes. And a precious few get a light in their eyes and nod. But really. I do. Birth is one of my all-time favorite experiences. I thought so before I had Anna, but her birth solidified it for me.

Her birth story began months before she was born when I watched a birth documentary called Orgasmic Birth. If you’re pregnant, PLEASE, do yourself a favor and watch this video (don’t let the title skeeve you out…it’s one of the most empowering birth videos I’ve ever seen). There are many beautiful births documented, but there was one in particular that caught my attention and drew me into dreaming about the kind of birth I desired to have with Anna. In this particular story, the mom and dad spent most of labor outside in their backyard. Holding hands, walking, rocking on a birth ball, kissing, chatting, giggling. They moved together in the rhythm of birth, as the midwife watched from the house. When it was time for the baby to be born, they moved up to the deck, and mom knelt down by a chair and pushed baby out into dad’s hands. They brought blankets outside and they all rested together in the beautiful day with their new baby, and introduced him to his siblings when they came back from grandma’s. It was so peaceful. So calm. So tender. So natural. So GOOD.

I decided I wanted a birth like that. So I warned my midwives, “I want to labor alone with Nathanael as much as possible. You don’t have to check on me. I’ll let you know when I need you.” And because they’re wonderful, and they’d already caught two of my babies, they agreed. It’s a beautiful thing to have mutual trust between yourself and your birth team.

Image{Mother’s Day, 2012. Nine days before Anna made her debut.}

I had an appointment with my midwives on my estimated due date, May 21. I’d been feeling baby dropping and my body starting to feel more open for several weeks, as well as having normal Braxton Hicks “practice” contractions off and on. I didn’t want them to check my progress, as we decided it didn’t matter, and I didn’t want to scare myself into thinking I’d be pregnant forever if their findings were less than what I expected. We had a fun chat about how Nathanael and I had gone to see the Avengers movie in the theater the night before, and how the baby was going CRAZY inside during the whole movie. I almost thought I was going to have to leave! At the end of the visit we determined that the baby could come as early as that night, or even in two weeks…my body would do its thing, and there was really no way of putting a date or time on it. They felt the baby inside and told me, “oh, this baby isn’t so big…maybe a little over seven and a half pounds.” (Ha! Do they say that to everyone? It sure was nice to think maybe I wouldn’t have to push out another nine-pounder like Daniel was!)

In the wee hours of the next morning, I awoke to some gentle contractions. They were tiny, and I could sleep between them. Slowly they gained momentum until when Nathanael opened his eyes I met his gaze and said quietly, “I think we are having a baby today!”

“Really?!” he sat up fast. “Do I have time for a shower?”

“Oh yes. I’m doing fine.” We smiled across the pillows at each other.

And thus the birth began.

He showered while I called the midwife and made the bed. He blew up the birth pool and got the water going while I worked through some contractions and nibbled on some snacks. A specially chosen mix CD played in the background. We stopped often to smile at each other and give each other kisses.

When the midwives arrived, they checked my vitals and listened to the baby for a minute before retreating to the front room to hang out with my mom and the kids. Nathanael and I walked around our bedroom, worked through contractions together, and chatted. And took pictures of each other.

ImageImageImageImageImage{Yes, we are laughing!}

After a while I wanted to get into the birth tub, so I did, but it was really too early for me to get in there. (I love this video describing water birth and when it’s best for a laboring woman to enter the water.) It was so relaxing I almost fell asleep, and after about an hour my contractions had all but stopped. I knew it was time to get out and change things up. Nathanael and I snuggled up on the bed together. Oxytocin is the “love hormone” that is released when you feel safe, and is also the one needed to cause contractions and move that baby down and out. So we laid there cuddled up against one another for a while, kissing and talking, and then got up and walked around the room a bit. He sat on the bed and I stood in front of him and put my cheek on¬†his forehead.

“You know what?” I said, “this has been so perfect, and it’s just what I wanted, but I’m kind of bored! I’m ready to have the baby now.” (We still laugh about that. My midwives said I’m the only person they’ve ever had say she was bored while in labor.)

Nathanael rubbed my belly. “Baby,” he said, “it’s time to come out now. Come on out, Anna.” We didn’t know her gender, but we both felt strongly that she was a girl, and had her name (and a just-in-case boy’s name) picked out.

We called our midwife in and discussed how to move things along. She suggested checking to see what my cervix was doing, making a change of location, i.e. getting out of our room for a while, and possibly breaking my bag of waters. I really wanted to let my water break on its own, so after discovering I was at a “squishy seven”, I walked out of our bedroom to wander around the rest of the house for a while. My other kids, incidentally, had just gone down for a nap. Suddenly, my body decided that nap time was the perfect time to have a baby, and bam! Everything kicked into high gear. I hadn’t been out of my room for fifteen minutes before I was hanging onto the edge of the kitchen table and breathing hard. Pretty soon I waddled back into said room to bury my face in the bed and moan and groan as the intensity of the contractions grew.

NOW was the time for the birth tub! I got back in and the intensity became much more manageable. I cannot describe the incredible sensation of working together with my baby to get it out. It’s almost like a dance. I squatted in the tub and let my hips and belly sway this way and that as I felt the little one inside of me moving into position for birth (this all by itself is enough reason for me to not want a medicated birth–that feeling and connection is too precious to me).

At last heaven and earth aligned, my baby and my body were coactive, and I held onto Nathanael’s hands with all my strength,¬†and pushed and pushed and pushed that little girl out into my midwife’s waiting hands. I had really wanted to catch her myself, but in the moment, I was so focused that I couldn’t make the mental shift to let go of Nathanael and reach for her. Oh well. Birth is all about going with the flow, so I just went with it.

Image{I love this picture, even though it’s blurry. The radiance of birth is vivid here.}

Just like *that* she was in my arms in all her red, screaming, vernix-y glory. My Anna. My girl. I wanted her, and I got her.

I was all enamored with placentas during my pregnancy with Anna (because¬†obviously, they’re pretty remarkable!), so I wanted to keep her attached to hers until I pushed it out and could see baby and placenta connected by the umbilical cord. It was pretty cool, I have to say!

We moved to the bed and she nursed happily for about an hour and then got weighed and measured. 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Perfect.

Image{There is just nothing like holding a fresh baby in your hands!}

Image{Newborn exam on the foot of my bed. So cozy.}

And so it was, Anna’s peaceful entrance into the world. She fills our hearts with so much joy, this little darling!

Today she is two!

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We love you, Anna! Happy Birthday!

Monday Musings

The sun is my best friend.

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It lights up my windows.

It warms the soggy backyard so my kids can play happily in the mud for hours.

It bleaches my baby’s diapers.

It encourages the baby leaves growing on the trees to come out and grow.

It flashes in my eyes and makes me squint.

It fills my heart with a sigh of happiness.

It draws me into its warmth and I bask in its glow.

Winter is long. And wet. And rainy. And long. And damp. And did I mention wet?

But then the Spring comes again, and with it the sun. At least on some days.

Like today.

ahhhhhhhhhhhh

Nighttime Mothering

I wrote this little article a few years ago when my oldest child was tiny. Three babies later it still applies,¬†and I get reminded of it on a regular basis, as I now have not just one, but four lil peeps that I awaken for at night. It’s¬†much more occasional now, but still….

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One night, as I was awakened for the second, or perhaps the third time by my baby needing me, the Lord gave me a revelation concerning nighttime mothering. I was rather frustrated, feeling that I would never get a real night of sleep, annoyed at my child for waking me, and internally whining to myself about how much I suffered to take care of my little one.

Without warning, a phrase popped into my head: nighttime mothering. It took me by surprise, as I was not in the mood for an attitude adjustment, nor was I in the frame of mind to conjure up some sentimental reason to be excited to be awake with my crying baby. And yet, I found myself strangely warmed and completely changed by the concept. With those two words I discovered a secret to motherhood, and a way to keep myself happy even in the middle of the night.

The essence of nighttime mothering is this: Motherhood is not a nine-to-five job. Nor is it nine-to-nine. Ah, if only it were that simple! Then I could awaken in the morning when I wanted to, get myself ready, then care for my precious baby all day, loving, caring, doing my motherly duty to the babe, fulfilling my role to the utmost, then, magically, at bedtime, I could put the little one to sleep, and clock out until the morning rolled around again.

But motherhood is not like that. At least, mothering is not. For mothering is more than simply bearing a child. It is giving one’s heart, soul, and body to nurture, love, and care for the real and imagined needs of a tiny human being. And mothering does not cease at sundown.

My desire as a mother is to portray tenderness, compassion, and gentleness to my babes. To be there for them when they call, to foresee and meet their needs even before they cry out. This is a huge job! It requires much more than I am physically, mentally, and emotionally able to give. And I desire to mother them not only during the day, but at night as well. Nighttime mothering is more difficult than daytime mothering, in my opinion, for it takes place at night, when nature itself sleeps. To be awakened time after time in the night would try the patience of the most noble of characters. And yet, as a mother, it happens to me on a regular basis.

Being the kind of person I am, I want my response to my child in the night to be holistic‚ÄĒcaring and nurturing not only in form, but also in attitude. I wish for my whole person to respond correctly, as I see it, to the nighttime calls from people much smaller than I am.

This is where nighttime mothering comes in. That night as I stood, groggily, by my baby’s bassinet, wishing I were still in my own comfy bed, and complaining inwardly about my martyr’s life, I realized that nighttime mothering is impossible on my own. Impossible without the help and grace of the God who not only made me a mother, but also gave me a mother’s heart. I discovered that even in the wee hours of the night, He stands with me, ready to give me grace prepared for that very moment. I have only to take it from His hand. Do I always receive His grace and fulfill my mothering call? That night I was able to. And now? Well, I am getting better at it. And He is faithful to remind me.

 

 

 

Simple Kid Lunch: Beans and Rice

There are some days that “what’s for lunch, Mommy?” is the second to last thing I want to hear, trumped only by “nooooo, I don’t want that! I want something else!” Really, kid? Maybe no lunch and a nap is what you’d rather have?!
Rather than emotionally and verbally spar with a hungry toddler or preschooler, I have a little trick up my sleeve to easily get me out of this lose-lose situation: beans and rice.

I realize this may seem simplistic. And possibly like I’m copping out making something I know they like when I don’t want to deal with fussing (to be fair, they most often don’t fuss when I say what’s for lunch, but if I think they’re going to, I consider myself a bit of a genius for heading them off at the pass). Also, I’m not really sure why this particular meal is such a favorite, but it’s healthy and easy, so it works for me! Besides, I love hearing the lil peeps cheer when I put their plates in front of them.

Beans and Rice
About 2 cups of cooked rice (or 1 pouch pre-cooked)
1 can black, pinto, or kidney beans
Garlic powder and cumin to taste
Sour cream, avocado, cheese, salsa, etc. as toppings (optional)

Heat beans and rice in a pan

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Add a few shakes each of garlic powder and cumin

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Garnish as you please!

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See? Nothing to it!

Do you have a no-fail, easy meal you like to make for your kiddos? Please share in the comments!